Update: 28.04.2005 !!!!!  THANK YOU ALL!


We need your support!!!

Mexican Environmentalist in jail for defending illegally imported Solomon Islands dolphins

The Mexican environmentalist-lady Araceli Dominguez was imprisoned on Saturday 23rd of April for defending the freedom of the Solomon Island dolphins.

Araceli Dominguez, the head of the environmental group GEMA ( Grupo Ecologista del Mayab) located in Cancun, Quintana Roo, México a distinguished lifelong warrior and environmental activist was arrested this morning in Cancun after being sued by the management of Park Nizuc importers of the Solomon dolphins. The charges against Araceli are for defamation of characteragainst Park Nizuc and Atlantida facility, for exposing the illegal import of 28 dolphins in July 2003.

You recall, 28 dolphins were imported from the Solomon Islands on July of 2003.  Mexican groups such as Comarino, Grupo de los Cien, Greenpeace, ECOTERRA Intl., IFAW, Defenders of Wildlife CEMDA and GEMA among many others exposed the illegal import and introduction into a Natural Protected Area of Park  Nizuc.

see: http://www.ecop.info/english/e-actions.htm#Massive

This case exposed the enormous international corruption behind the trade of wild dolphins for the captivity industry. It also exposed the corruption in Mexico, since many domestic laws were violated, specially the introduction of an exotic species into a natural protected area. The case became a political scandal in Mexico and both houses of Congress demanded investigations and punishment for all parties involved.

Comarino presented two lawsuits against Park Nizuc, one administrative and one criminal, since there is evidence of criminal acts according to Mexican laws. The case is still pending resolution. IFAW and CEMDA also presented popular denunciations against environmental authorities for breaking the law which ended with the sacking of the under-secretary of Environment Raul Arriaga.

Nevertheless, environmental authorities were incapable of confiscating the animals while admitting it was illegal for them to be inside a natural protected area. We dont even know for sure how many dolphins have died inside the facility since that information is classified!.

But we know from good sources that at least 6 dolphins have died since the arrival

Araceli Dominguez kept on publicly denunciating the illegal authorizations for the new swim with dolphins-projects and thus stepping on the toes of the powerful dolphin industry when she was arrested on Saturday morning. In Mexico the practice of arresting someone on a Saturday ensures that the arrestee stays incarcerated until Monday because judges and prosecutors are off for the weekend.

This incarceration represents a bizarre and grotesque action to intimidate Araceli and all the environmental activists involved against the dolphin captivity industry. Today it was Araceli. Tomorrow it can be anyone of us.

We cannot stand still while Mexican laws are violated, marine mammals are exploited and environmentalists and animal defenders who work strictly abiding the laws are imprisoned in jail, just like the dolphins.

Araceli Dominguez has been involved in the defense of the sea turtle sanctuary of Xcacel, mangroves, dolphins, coral reefs, natural protected areas and coastal ecosystems and she is a staunch human rights advocate. She is a law abiding activist and a personal friend of all of us who have worked for the environment in the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico.

We need your support

Please send letters and faxes to President Fox. Please protest against this action of arbitrary and illegal arrest and demand the immediate release of Araceli Dominguez.

Mr Vicente Fox Quesada
President of Mexico
E-mail: vicentefox@presidencia.gob.mx,
Tel-fax (52 55)  55 15 17 94; 55 15 05 28;  55 15 42 74

Please send a copy to Comarino:  comarino@yahoo.com
ECOTERRA Intl.:  araceli@ecoterra.net
and GEMA:  gema@cancun.com.mx

Many thanks

Yolanda Alaniz





Update: 28.04.2005

Dear Friends, Members and Supporters,

The great achievement of your quick and determined action is this unusual speedy
and unconditional release of Araceli, a unification of our common struggle and
a strengthening of all the forces of good intentions for the protection of the
environment and our co-creatures.

Thank you All !




Cacun / Mexico - 28.04.2004 (WTN) The Mexican environmentalist Araceli Dominguez, head of Grupo Ecologista del Mayab (GEMA), based in Cancun, Mexico, who was falsely imprisoned on 23. April 2005, was released form prison in the early morning hours, just after  a representative of the Governor of the State of Quintana Roo had gone around midnight personally to the prison to facilitate the unconditional release of Araceli Dominguez.

The owner of the dolphinaria “Atlantida” and Park Nizuc “Wet n’ Wild”, Mr Bernardo Zambrano was forced to drop all criminal charges against the accused: Araceli Dominguez, Sara Rincon, head of the Association to Protect Animals of Cancun, Cecilia Navarro from Greenpeace Mexico, Ben White from Animal Welfare Institute, five local reporters and Yolanda Alaniz from Comarino.

This unprecedented triumph was possible thanks to the intense and continued work of all local, regional, national and international groups that supported Araceli Dominguez and her release. In a massive campaign President Fox was flooded with communications from all over the world demanding his personal intervention against the illegal and arbitrary arrest. Formal complains were lodged by ECOTERRA Intl. in Nairobi with Mexican Ambassador Magarita Dieguez, who is also the Resident Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and by CETACEA DEFENCE with the Mexican Embassy in London.

Based on the international uproar even the Senate of Mexico stood up, condemned the arrest and demanded the release of Mrs. Dominguez.

"Your participation was of the most important help to release Araceli Dominguez. We, the Mexican environmental movement, come out of this strengthened and as a true force for environment, stated Yolanda Alaniz and expressed her thanks on behalf of Araceli Dominguez and the other accused to all supporters worldwide.

But the fight for the release of the hijacked and illegally imported dolphins from the Solomon Islands and against their criminal abductors and prison warders continues: http://www.ecop.info

Bernardo Zambrano, who is at the core of all that shame is the son of the Chairman of CEMEX, Lorenzo Zambrano, the worlds largest cement manufacturer, and a disgrace for his family as well as the nation of Mexico, if he doesn't rehabilitate the dolphins into their natural habitat.

The continuous resistance against this demand calls now also for the strongest possible intervention of honest personalities from the political quarters as well as from the business community in Mexico to finally stop the horrible abuse of dolphins in Mexico once and for all. People like Mr. CARLOS SLIM HELÚ whose company Teléfonos de México SA (TELMEX) is a sponsors of Parque Nizuc should step out first from being associated with the dolphin-death-camp or face a boycott like the other associates of Parc Nizuc (e.g. Pepsi, Fuji Film, Dos Equis Beer, American Express).





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